5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

Sport is paying off big time for Foxtel. Picture: Getty Images

Good morning, it’s all about Telstra and the NBN today in tech. This is what you need to know.

1. Telstra’s revenue is up, profits are flat and it has been putting up more regional towers. The half-yearly report for Australia’s largest telco half yearly report is in, and revenue is sitting at $13.68 billion, up 7.6% and profits at $2.093 billion, up 0.4%. Total income was up 9.1% to $14.194 billion. Telstra added another 235,000 domestic retail mobile services for a total of 16.9 million services.

The telco has also announced its progress with rolling out its portion of the Mobile Blackspot Programme, with 66 towers set to be completed by the end of June. Vodafone has also announced that it will have a dozen sites up by July.

2. The NBN’s gamble on HFC might actually pay off. A new breakthrough in HFC, the technology that will make up over 30% of the Coalition’s MTM NBN network, could see the cable network reach speeds past what current FTTP offers. Known as Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1, the technology announced last week will give HFC cables download speeds of 21Gbps and upload speeds of 10Gbps, or a minimum of 210Mbps/100Mbps for a home on a street of 100 houses. The NBN’s CTO is over in the US at the moment investigating how to bring the tech to Australia. But this will all only work if the cables the NBN bought off Optus and Telstra are in good condition, which is yet to be proven.

3. Village Roadshow is calling on telcos to block a piracy site. The first test of Australia’s new copyright laws could be about to come into play, with a bunch of Hollywood studios, led by Village Roadshow looking to have internet providers block piracy website SolarMovie. This will be the first action taken against the new Copyright Amendment Act which was passed by parliament in June last year. If successful, ISPs would be forced to block the website to their customers in Australia, although known workarounds such as VPNs still present a problem for rights holders.

4. Foxtel isn’t doomed. The company’s subscriber base grew 8% despite Netflix’s strong entry into Australia. Total subscribers have risen from 2.6 million to nearly 2.9 million in the first half of 2016, a rise of 8.1%, even with the entry of Netflix and its estimated 1 million Australian customers that analysts believed would spell hard times for the company.

The numbers were revealed in Telstra’s earnings today, and most importantly for the company is the fact that its churn rate is down 1.2 percentage points to 10.2%, meaning more subscribers are happy with the service and sticking with it.

5. Google’s Chromecast Audio is available in Australia today. Google’s tiny, inexpensive dongle which turns any speaker into a wireless one launches today locally for $59 each. It’s about the size of a hockey puck and plugs into your speaker’s auxiliary port. If you buy more than one of them you can group them all together to create your own cut-price Sonos setup. You can grab one from JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman or Google’s online store.

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